Anyways, let’s move on to something more sanitary and fun. Let me subdivide the adventures into four parts, hence, four countries.
We made it! Hallelujah! We arrived there in the morning.
Hans’ brother and niece picked us up at the airport and welcomed us in their casa with open arms. They may not be reading this blog but, thank you Oliver and Maya for your hospitality.
We met Hans’ other relatives that first day and then went to Dusseldorf after. It’s a beautiful city filled with old German buildings and modern architecture. The Rhein river was a spectacle to look at. We even went to a Rathaus (municipal hall) where Hitler used to give his speeches!
We went to Duisburg and played in a casino the next day. As your budget pal, I only played the 5 cent slot machines while Hans and Oliver played the 5 Euro blackjack. I had so much fun with the “Zeus” slots. I even won 5 Euros! Yay! It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Hans and Oliver came down later to join me.
On the third day, we went to Cologne. It’s the home to the Kolner Dom. It’s a 12th century cathedral with very intricate architectural details inside and out. I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings almost. I have never seen a church so old and huge!
On the last day, we went to see the Roman ruins in Xanten. Very medieval. They had really old stuff like armors, knives, pots, etc. The colosseum was a sight to look at. It reminded of Game of Thrones. We drove 2 hours from there to our next destination.
All I can remember from Amsterdam is the smoke. Oh my gosh! I have never smoked that amount of second hand smoke in my life! Not even in Las Vegas. It’s like everywhere I turn, there’s someone smoking. Yuck!
Another thing is the bicycle thing. Yes. They are all over the place. LITERALLY. Oh my gosh! I thought that I am going to die in Amsterdam because the bicycles are going to run me over. Marvin, quit bitchin’.
Oh and one more. The canals are FILTHY. Uggggh. I mean, yes, it’s a city, the canals are suppose to be dirty BUT their canals are on another level of grossness. I gather that I won’t be welcome in The Netherlands anymore?
Marijuana and prostitution are legal in Amsterdam and that is best displayed at the Red Light District. They’re selling pot everywhere and the beautiful women on the glass windows were waiting for clients. The more things that I see in Amsterdam makes me realize more that the city is catered to the youth. I’m old. I’m one of the ruins in Xanten.
On the bright side, there is one place in Amsterdam that I really liked. Hmmmm…what could that be?? It’s the Rijksman museum. This was my very first actual museum ever. I was just impressed and in awe with the paintings of Van Gogh, Monet, and Rembrandt. I wish that they’re alive today so they can paint my facial expression whenever I smoked the second hand smoke. The end.
Ahhh. The CITY OF LOVE! Paris!
Where else could be the best start? The Eiffel! I took like a hundred pictures of the Eiffel. My quota was two hundred. Standing in front of it was surreal. It is the most iconic landmark in Europe, and quite possibly, the world. After Hans scolded me for taking too much pictures (oh, he was bitchin’ in front of THE tower alright), we laid down on the grass (as originally planned). We let the moment sink in…
We went back to our hotel that night with smile in our face.
We went to the Louvre the next day. And OMG. That museum was huge! If there was a hoarder of old stuff from different places, the Louvre was definitely his house. I mean, there’s basically something from somewhere around the world. I wonder if they have an old pot or a wisdom tooth from a tribe in Timbuktu. Yours truly got the chance to see the real Monalisa! She was smiling at me and her eyes were transfixed on me wherever I go. Weirdo.
And then I got ripped off. Really now? Yes. Budget pal GOT RIPPED OFF. How can??! Let me tell you. After Louvre, we went to a souvenir shop. I was ecstatic to buy magnets with anything PARIS in it. You know, for gifts. The price was 10 Euros for 4 magnets. So, I tried my cute pussy cat face and asked the seller to give me 5 magnets for 10 Euros. He said NO. Cut story short, I bought 4 for 10. So we got out of the store. And then, the unthinkable happened. The next store was selling 6 magnets for 10!! Then the next store was selling 8 for 10! I was HEARTBROKEN. And Hans laughing at my misfortune didn’t help either! We ended the day with a walk to Notre Dame and to Pantheon.
Arc Di Triomphe, Champs de Elysee, two beautiful museums (Rodin and Orsay), two old churches (Invalides and Sacre Coeur), and Moulin Rouge later, we headed to London.
The trip to the UK was the “scariest” of them all. Why? Well, we took the Eurostar train. The Eurostar train goes inside the ocean. INSIDE THE OCEAN! I prayed hard that the walls underneath the ocean does not break. Can you imagine if the wall broke?? Thank God we made it alive!
The first stop of course was the usual tourist spots: The Big Ben, House of Parliament, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square. These places are very close to each other.
And then the next day, we went to see the London Bridge and the Tower Bridge. We managed to squeeze in the Natural History Museum too. Uggghh. I hated that place. Why? Well, there was no AC and we all know that sugar melts! I was melting like OLAF. Hans on the other hand was taking his time looking at every single bone of a dinosaur. It was like Disneyland for him.
One of the highlights of London, I gotta say, was when we met up with my childhood friends. Imagine? Of all places? I LOVE REUNIONS. I have always loved reunions whether it be family or friends or old classmates. You know, being able to look back and reminisce the memories with other people. It’s not just about Eiffel…or 4 for 10 magnets, you know.
Anyways, we headed back to my friend’s house for a barbecue dinner. We took the bus. Yes. For the first time in my life, I was able to ride a two-storey bus! Harry Potter, is that you?
And then, the last full day of our trip came. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
We went to the British museum (I was already museum-ed out at that time) and the Camden market which was the oasis of cool souvenirs. Ha! I made sure that I am NOT gonna get RIPPED OFF again.
We flew back to Hawaii, invigorated with a smile and the feeling of contentment, knowing that someday, when we get old, or whenever we want to, we could always look at our pictures in Europe and remember the good times that we shared…THE BEST TRIP EVER!